In the year 2007 bellwethers indicate a fast growth
in storage with faster growth in areas involved with data protection. Vendors
have been trying to battle it out to gain total supremacy for years. IT managers
realized long ago that its RoI on storage technologies is important, but vendors
have not. But, still vendors keep on inventing the storage wheel.
Nonetheless, many vendors frankly admit that storage is oversubscribed and
underutilized. More budget is spent on maintaining the old because it becomes
too disruptive to migrate. Also, multivendor storage keeps price competitive but
adds to management costs. Cost has become crucial and it should be better spent
on technologies that can give RoI.
Undoubtedly, it is cheaper to buy storage today rather than hire
people to manage it. Today, CIOs don't want to give up what they already have.
They want additional capabilities to be added to the existing technologies,
which is much cheaper than migrating to a completely new concept, which they are
not sure on RoI. Storage virtualization is one such concept.
|The challenge in front of
most vendors is to deliver world-class enterprise service to their SMB
customers with limited resources
It isn't a new concept, but it's getting a lot of attention
lately as top storage vendors launch next-generation virtualization wares. The
vendors vary on their approaches; some put virtualization in the network, while
others put it at the edge or in the array. But, they all attack the same basic
problem-simplifying storage management. All leading vendors, with their
storage virtualization concepts have been able to convince IT managers that
there is more to tape and disc storage.
Virtualizing storage has different methods. These methods are
characterized by whether the virtualization is done on the host, the storage
array or the SAN.
There are vendors who offer controller-based virtualization with
their platforms. This technique puts virtualization in the storage controller,
either as a separate appliance or built into the array. Since controller-based
virtualization is intimately connected to the storage arrays, controller-based
products generally do an excellent job of working with the storage, especially
in the event of errors or write failures.
The major drawback to controller-based virtualization is vendor
lock-in. In fact, in most cases, customers are not just locked into a vendor,
they are locked into a particular product line since storage controllers only
work with one product line. Another disadvantage is that controllers, by nature,
have the narrowest view of the SAN-essentially, they only see the storage
Most storage vendors are slowly changing their gears with their
virtualization offerings and have started focusing on SMB market as well. Now
even the smallest companies can enjoy the benefits of virtualization by
optimizing the performance of their most pressing business applications-such
as Microsoft Exchange or Oracle Financials-utilizing the logical partitioning
capabilities of the integrated new fleet of midrange offerings of most storage
The challenge in front of most vendors is to deliver world-class
enterprise service to their SMB customers with limited resources. Conventional
midrange storage leaves much of this market under-served. However, many have
addressed this issue with the cost-effective network storage controller,
delivering high-end function in a user-friendly form factor.
As organizations look to move beyond tape-currently the
predominant storage medium for long-term retention-utilizing disk storage
technology for backup and recovery operations has become an attractive method of
improving reliability, reducing backup windows, achieving greater data
throughput performance and ensuring rapid recovery. Until now, however, the
migration to current disk-based solutions has been causing disruption and costly
downtime in legacy IT systems. Now many vendors have virtual tape library
solutions that require no changes to existing backup policies, practices, or